MotoGP riders call for French GP date change over safety fears

Leading MotoGP riders have called for future French Grands Prix at Le Mans to be moved to later in the year to avoid “nightmare” weather conditions.

Listen to this article

This weekend’s French GP has been run in cold and mostly damp conditions, which have so far led to 77 crashes across all classes on Friday and Saturday.

Poleman Fabio Quartararo noted on Friday that tyre warm-up at Le Mans was “a total disaster”, with many riders agreeing with his comments.

Sunday’s warm-up sessions have been delayed by 40 minutes from their original schedule due to low temperatures, with a number of riders calling for the race weekend in future to be moved to a later date to avoid this.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was the most vocal over the safety of the event at this time of year, with the Spaniard admitting he was “very angry”.

“If we talk many times about safety, we cannot come here in this time at Le Mans,” Espargaro said on Saturday.

“The tyres are not working. We saw 65, 70 crashes, one guy has been operated on already [Moto2 rider Yari Montella].

“We can’t come to Le Mans with 12 degrees on the ground because the tyres Michelin and Dunlop bring to us are not working.

“So, I don’t know if for somebody it’s funny to see us crash, but for us it’s not.

“Everybody is crashing, so are we all idiots? No we’re not, so I’m very angry.

“Today I was fast in the wet, it’s not that I don’t want to ride on the wet – it’s part of my job, I want to ride on the wet, it’s not a problem.

“But not in 12 degrees. So, why we don’t change the race for a normal situation?

“If not, push the tyre manufacturers to produce special tyres for Le Mans, which I think is impossible.”

Read Also:

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales echoed these sentiments, adding that a change of date over safety would create a “better show”.

“I really wish they can move the Le Mans race because it’s such a nice track, but this cold temperature makes the track like a nightmare,” Vinales noted.

“Probably in the warm-up it will be eight degrees, seven degrees. This is difficult, this is very dangerous.

“So, I hope they can move to at least enjoy the track because Le Mans is one of the most beautiful tracks, but it makes it difficult when it’s really cold.

“I think it will be better races and a better show for sure.”

Nine-time motorcycle grand prix world champion Valentino Rossi also believes a date change would be positive, but concedes it’s a decision that is out of the riders’ hands.

“Usually, when we speak with Michelin, to be safe, we need 20 degrees on the ground,” the Petronas SRT rider said.

“So it means that 15, 16 in the air, so all this weekend is too dangerous because it’s seven, eight, nine degrees and on the track it’s always less than 15.

“Another thing is the amount of rain, it’s like you are in Malaysia.

“It starts to rain and rains for five minutes but it puts 40cm of water or 20cm of water [on track] and after it stops.

“So, this combination between a lot of water and low temperature is the worst one.

“Maybe in June it’s a bit better the weather, but this is a choice that is not for us.

“Behind it there’s a lot of dynamics that I sincerely don’t know.”

shares
comments

Related video

MotoGP French Grand Prix - Start time, how to watch & more
Previous article

MotoGP French Grand Prix - Start time, how to watch & more

Next article

French MotoGP: Miller wins chaotic flag-to-flag race

French MotoGP: Miller wins chaotic flag-to-flag race
Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era Prime

Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era

OPINION: The once all-conquering Japanese manufacturers are going through a difficult period in MotoGP this season. With Suzuki quitting, Honda struggling to get near the podium and Yamaha only enjoying success courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, Japanese manufacturers have been left in the dust by their European counterparts. This is why.

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2022
How in-form Quartararo is evoking Marquez in MotoGP 2022 Prime

How in-form Quartararo is evoking Marquez in MotoGP 2022

OPINION: Fabio Quartararo has seized control of the 2022 MotoGP world standings after another dominant victory as his nearest rivals faltered. And he is very much heading towards a second championship echoing how the dominator of the last decade achieved much of his success.

MotoGP
Jun 20, 2022
Why Marquez's surgery is about more than just chasing on-track success Prime

Why Marquez's surgery is about more than just chasing on-track success

OPINION: Marc Marquez will likely sit out the remainder of the 2022 MotoGP season to undergo a fourth major operation on the right arm he badly broke in 2020. It is hoped it will return him to his brilliant best after a tough start to the season without a podium to his name. But it’s the human victory that will far outweigh any future on-track success he may go on to have

MotoGP
May 31, 2022
Why Ducati holds all the power in its MotoGP rider dilemma Prime

Why Ducati holds all the power in its MotoGP rider dilemma

OPINION: The French Grand Prix looks to have made Ducati’s decision on its factory team line-up simpler, as Enea Bastianini stormed to his third win of the campaign and Jorge Martin crashed out for a fifth time in 2022. But, as Ducati suggests to Motorsport.com, it remains in the strongest position in a wild rider market

MotoGP
May 16, 2022
The seismic aftershock of Suzuki's decision to leave MotoGP Prime

The seismic aftershock of Suzuki's decision to leave MotoGP

Suzuki's sudden decision to leave the MotoGP World Championship at the end of the season has acted as a stirring element in a market that had already erupted. We analyse what this means for the grid going into 2023

MotoGP
May 11, 2022
How the real Ducati began to emerge in MotoGP's Spanish GP Prime

How the real Ducati began to emerge in MotoGP's Spanish GP

Ducati’s 2022 MotoGP bike has had a tough start to life and the expected early-season title charge from Francesco Bagnaia did not materialise. But the Spanish Grand Prix signalled a turning point for both the GP22 and Bagnaia, as the 2021 runner-up belatedly got his season underway after a straight fight with Fabio Quartararo

MotoGP
May 2, 2022
How praise for Honda's MotoGP bike has given way to doubt Prime

How praise for Honda's MotoGP bike has given way to doubt

In a little over two months, Honda has gone from setting the pace in MotoGP testing with its new RC213V prototype to being at a crossroads - caused by the discrepancy in its riders' feedback. After a Portuguese GP that underwhelmed, serious questions are now being asked of Honda in 2022

MotoGP
Apr 26, 2022
Why Quartararo's win was vital not only for his title hopes Prime

Why Quartararo's win was vital not only for his title hopes

Fabio Quartararo got his MotoGP title defence off the ground in the Portuguese Grand Prix as a dominant first win of 2022 rocketed him to the top of the standings. While a significant result in terms of his title hopes, it has come at an even more important time in terms of his 2023 contract negotiations

MotoGP
Apr 25, 2022